I have seen a trend going around on social media these days about how a man should be treating their wife like a queen and yet another, that if a man treats a woman like a queen, she should then treat him like a king. While this sentiment may feel fair and tickle that mental “yeah!”, if we are followers of Christ, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves “Is this what the bible says we are supposed to do?”
It is my personal conviction to not call my husband my king (nor my rock, for that matter). Sure, my youngest daughter likes to call her and her sister the princesses and periodically says that I’m the queen and Daddy’s the king of our house, which is fine. But there’s something about calling anyone king other than Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords - my true king, that just rubs me the wrong way… kinda like rubbing a cat’s hair up their back and instead of down. When I think of a king, keeping in mind that I’m American so I don’t have the experience of royalty in my culture, I think of someone to whom I should be in awe of and fear. They are powerful, sovereign, and make decisions for great numbers of people. One whom when I enter his presence, I bow down low, I bring a gift, I show such a reverence that it’s practically worship. So with this idea of a king in my mind, I could never have my husband as my king and not be committing idolatry. The title of king, I have reserved for my King Jesus and Him alone. I will reiterate that this is my personal conviction and it is not my intent to bring judgement upon those who call their husband their king, only to invoke thought about it.
Digging Deeper into a Wife’s Role
With seeing this trend and these types of posts on social media, it stirred me to really think about what God says I should be as the wife to my husband. I think when it comes to marriage and being good wives, we commonly hear of the iconic Proverbs 31 Woman (if you haven’t read that before, take a moment and read about her in Proverbs 31:10-31, she’s very inspiring!) and we hear pastors preaching from Ephesians 5 about how husbands are to love their wives like Christ loves the church and wives are to submit to their husbands. But what does this all mean? How do we apply it and become the wife to our husband that God is calling us to be?
If we look over Proverbs 31, we can pull out some things that are key components applicable to every wife seeking to be godly and excellent in her calling as her husband’s wife.
- An excellent wife is precious!
- Her husband trusts her.
- She does her husband good, not harm (her whole life!).
- She is willing to work (which looks differently for individual wives).
- She’s wise and discerning (which God gives to those who ask - James 1:5).
- She has dignity and strong character.
- She’s generous and looks out for the needs of her household.
- She’s kind and speaks kindness.
- Her husband praises her.
- She fears the LORD!
If we look at Ephesians 5:22-33, we see these key components regarding us women as wives.
- We are to submit to our husband, AS UNTO THE LORD.
- We are one flesh with our husband - we share a level of intimacy with our husband that we don’t share with anyone else. This is not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually too. When he hurts, we should know him well enough to see it and share the hurt. When he rejoices, we should rejoice along with him. We should support him and help him however we can.
- We are to respect our husband.
Applying This to Everyday Life
I’m going to camp out on the first and third components from Ephesians for a second…we are to submit to our husband and respect him. I have heard this spoken of as a negative thing by others in the past. The words submit and respect are words that we often view as needing to be earned, and sometimes is viewed as a negative thing. The common thought is that someone has to prove they’re deserving of our submission and respect. Yet, when it comes to our husband, God simply commands us to do it. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it, we are to unconditionally submit to and respect our husband.
Real quick side note…I do not believe that a woman who is in an abusive relationship is being told to stay in that situation. I won’t go into divorce because that’s a whole other topic, but submitting to and respecting your husband does not equate to staying in harm’s way.
SUBMITTING to your husband…
When God is telling us here to submit to our husband, it’s included that we’re to do it as to the Lord. I don’t know about you, but it’s easy to trust that the Lord loves me and has my good in mind because He’s God. It’s a no brainer to submit to Him, right? So why is it hard to submit to our own husband? That actually goes back to the Garden of Eden when sin entered in. In Genesis 3, when God told Eve that her desire shall be for her husband, it’s not the desire we may initially think of. The original text is an intense longing for the authority or dominion of her husband. We already know that God gave our husbands to be the head over our homes, our covering to protect us, as the weaker vessels (this is not a dig at all, ladies). When you think of what God told Eve, it makes sense with what we experience in our lives and what we see in the world today:
- Women rising up and wanting equal power, but most often more, in all areas where men fill.
- Wives being told to stand strong against our husbands in this area or that.
- The idea that we deserve a husband who will love us and treat us like a queen but not rule over us.
- The perspective that we don’t need him but he’s nice to have around as long as he does what we want.
- The idea that we need to train him to be a certain way that’s satisfactory to our standards.
Dear wife, that type of thinking is perverted! It perverts what God designed our husband to be and how He designed us to be as his wife. Our husband is not just some thing, like an animal, that we need to train and mold to be how we envision him best suiting our life. He is the one whom God has made for us, brought to us, and created into one flesh with. He is called to love us, protect us, spiritually wash our feet, and his calling as our husband serves as an example of how Christ loves His church. If we reduce our husband in our mind to what the world has twisted, we reduce the importance we place on the relationship between Christ and us, as His bride.
Submission does not mean we are a slave to our husband’s every whim. We are called to submit our assertion of authority and trying to be the leader of our household in his place. We have the natural, albeit sinful, tendency to assert our authority but God is telling us that just as we submit to Him and His authority over us, we are to also submit to our husband and the God-given authority given to him over us. If you have a hard time submitting to your husband, the core of the issue is your trust and submission to God Himself.
RESPECTING your husband…
We see this last little mention at the end of Ephesians 5 that says we are to respect our husband. This goes hand in hand with submitting, but it often hits another nerve in us women. Men operate on a basis of respect with one another and while they try harder to have grace for us, when we disrespect our husband, it wreaks havoc. Men are known to place respect higher than love in their perspectives. If we disrespect our husband, it’s like him not loving us. The kicker here is, we want him to show us love and then we respond by showing him respect. Yet on the flip side, to our husband, if we show him respect he responds with love. This cyclical cycle can be amazing or marriage breaking. If our husband is showing love and we’re showing respect, things are great. If our husband is not showing love and we’re not showing respect, things are horrible and it’s a plethora of hurt feelings.
When we see that God has commanded us each individually as a husband and wife to love and respect one another unconditionally, it makes so much sense that if we were doing this our relationship would be that of a continual cycle of love and respect, not dependent on one another but simply in our obedience to God’s command. It’s natural to wait for our husband to show us love first, but by doing so we are basically insinuating that we are deserving of unconditional love but he is not deserving of unconditional respect. This is not only prideful, but it’s being disobedient to God’s command. Even if you were to unconditionally respect your husband and he never unconditionally loved you, would you rather feel justified in your own pride or be obedient to the almighty God?
A Poetic Prayer for a Wife’s Heart
When thinking upon these scriptures, I wrote out a poem that really is a prayer of how I want to be as a wife seeking to be a godly woman and excellent wife to my husband.
A Wife’s Prayer
Thank you, God, for blessing me
With my husband and our marriage.
May I only shout of his sweetness,
And never loose lipped in disparage.
You’ve made him the head of our home
With responsibility on his shoulders.
May I always do him good, not harm,
Not heaping nagging words like boulders.
You have called me to be his helper,
His supportive and prayerful wife.
I will serve You in this calling,
Faithfully for all my life.
When emotions rage like a stormy sea
And we don’t see eye to eye,
May I choose the path of humility
Without argue and drawn-out sigh.
May I always show him respect
Just as You’ve told me I ought to do.
Respect that’s unconditional,
Remembering my obedience is to You.
Thank you for the oneness
You’ve given us to share.
The example of Christ and His bride
And how He treats her with great care.
I’ve found the one whom my soul loves,
I am his and he is mine.
May our marriage be a refreshing light,
That in You, will always shine.